3 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Mobile Video Streaming
What happens when you combine the live stream of Twitter with the power and accessibility of a smartphone video camera? The answer is Meerkat and Periscope.
These two mobile apps allow users to log in, start a stream and instantly broadcast their mobile video globally to any other users with the app. What’s more, both systems automatically link to your Twitter account and announce to the Twittersphere when you’re live streaming. That means a built-in following for you and a powerful, free social marketing tool.
Mobile video streaming apps have some incredible ramifications for entrepreneurs around the world who learn how to use them right. Here are three things you need to know and understand about Meerkat and Periscope to get started with your own mobile video stream.
1. How they’re different.
There’s plenty of talk that both of these mobile apps are just the latest fad in the ever-evolving social media space. However, there’s something simple and brilliant about the idea of being able to live broadcast from your phone anything and everything you want.
Both Meerkat and Periscope broadcast live mobile streams to any and all users inside their platforms, allow you to search for users and topics within the apps and allow users to comment and share enthusiasm for live streams while they’re in progress. They also both integrate with Twitter and announce when you’re streaming live.
Despite these similarities, there are a few significant differences. Meerkat is more like Snapchat in that, once your broadcast is done, that’s it. It’s a true streaming app and you can't rewatch video.
Periscope, on the other hand, allows you to save any of your broadcasts within the app for up to 24 hours, so there is some delayed viewing allowed for those who missed your live stream. The Periscope interface is also more closely integrated with Twitter and allows you to set your stream to private, where Meerkat does not allow for private streams.
2. Why you should get involved.
Obviously, the ramifications of your own live broadcast from a free app are pretty astounding. Think of the low barrier of entry into YouTube broadcasts or iTunes podcasts and then apply that scope of reach and free access with Periscope and Meerkat: they’re on the cutting edge. You can download the app and start broadcasting immediately.
Being an early adopter of these two channels could give you a tremendous leg up on expanding your influence and reach. Getting started with live, meaningful broadcasts could help you grow your audience and get your message out for no cost. Couple that with the built-in Twitter integration and if you have any Twitter following, you’ve already got the foundation of a built-in audience. That’s a great place to start from for any entrepreneur.
3. What you need to consider.
Like everything in life, with great power comes great responsibility. Both apps are working to overcome the unfortunate but inevitable side effects of total access, such as bullying and harassment. There currently are limited block features, which means many offensive, rude or hurtful comments will likely still be directed your way until more blocking features are enabled.
There is also the concern about copyright infringement. What are the ethics if you stream a live Periscope feed from a Justin Timberlake concert? Is it legal to stream a live Meerkat feed from your sideline tickets to the Super Bowl?
Clearly, there are still some aspects of mobile video streaming that will need to be further developed to make it a safe, viable social media channel, but the overriding theme is mobile streaming could be a platform-building dream for clever entrepreneurs who leverage it.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.